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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

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Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

RECIPE: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

With their seasonal orange color, moist texture and delightful pumpkin flavor, these baked doughnuts are better-for-you, with less sugar and no hot-oil frying. Make them for breakfast, snacking or dessert, with a scoop of ice cream.

They also freeze nicely. The batter also keeps well in the fridge, in case you want to make a double batch, or prepare the day before to bake in the morning. They are not too pumpkiny—more pumpkin latte than pumpkin pie—so people who don’t like pumpkin can enjoy them, too.

All you need besides the recipe ingredients are doughnut baking pans. Or, you can make pumpkin muffins in your muffin pan.

  • Wilton Nonstick 12-Cavity Doughnut Pan
  • Fox Run Mini Doughnut Pan (buy 2)
  • Prep time is 15 to 20 minutes, baking time is 30 to 38 minutes.

    For step by step photos, check out the King Arthur Blog.


    Ingredients For 12 Doughnuts, 24 Mini Doughnuts Or
    15 Muffins

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar*
  • 1-1/2 cups pumpkin purée (plain canned pumpkin)

    Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts

    Make the batter the night before, then serve warm muffins at breakfast or brunch. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus a heaping 1/4 teaspoon each ground nutmeg and ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour†
    For The Topping

  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar or pumpkin-spice sugar

  • For spicier doughnuts, add more pumpkin pie spice or allspice, cinnamon, ginger/or and cloves.

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 12-cavity doughnut pans or substitute (mini doughnut pans, muffin pans).

    2. BEAT together until smooth the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices, salt, and baking powder. Add the flour, stirring just until smooth.

    3. FILL the wells of the doughnut pans about 3/4 full; use a scant 1/4 cup of batter in each well. If you’re making muffins, fill each well about 3/4 full; the recipe makes about 15 muffins, so you’ll need to use two muffin pans or bake them in two batches.


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    Baked pumpkin doughnuts, close up and delicious. Photo courtesy King Arthur Flour.


    4. BAKE the doughnuts for 15 to 18 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. If you’re making muffins, bake for 23 to 25 minutes. While the donuts are baking, make the cinnamon sugar or pumpkin spice sugar, by mixing half spice with half superfine sugar. (You can pulse table sugar in the food processor to a superfine consistency.)

    5. REMOVE the doughnuts from the oven. After about 5 minutes, loosen their edges with a knife or spatula and transfer them to a rack to cool. If you plan to eat them shortly: While the doughnuts are still warm, but no longer fragile…

    6. GENTLY SHAKE them in a bag with the cinnamon-sugar. If you’ve made muffins, sprinkle their tops heavily with cinnamon-sugar. NOTE that for the best appearance, it’s important to hold the cinnamon-sugar until you’re ready to serve the doughnuts. Store the rest without the cinnamon sugar (see the next step) and add it just before serving.

    7. COOL the doughnuts completely and store at room temperature for several days. Do not wrap them tightly or enclose them in a plastic bag: Because these doughnuts are so moist, they will become soggy. We put ours in a plastic storage container, which allows air to circulate. You can also use a cake dome or a plate with an upended bowl; or use a baking pan covered with wax paper.



    *The original recipe used 1-1/2 cups sugar, but cutting back to 1 cup is just as delicious (although slightly less tender—no big deal).

    †To use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour (e.g. King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour), reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon; omit the baking powder, and substitute 2 cups (8 ounces) of self-rising flour. Bake the doughnuts for about 18 minutes.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Go Rustic, Make A Crostata Or A Galette

    Before there were pie pans, there were crostatas and galettes. But let’s start with a brief history of pie, to provide some perspective before we get to a delicious crostata/galette recipe.

    Culinary historians trace the origin of pie to ancient Egypt, where savory fillings were baked in woven reeds as the vessel. A form of flat, free-form pastry, now called a crostata (Italian) or galette (French), evolved, consisting of a crust of ground grain (barley, oats, rye, wheat) and filled with honey.

    The concept was brought to Greece, and then to Rome. Ancient Greeks are believed to have created pie pastry, and the trade of pastry cook was distinguished from that of baker.

    In the millennia before modern bakeware was created, the Romans made an inedible pastry of flour, oil and water to hold meat and poultry as they baked (its main purpose was to keeping in the juices). The Roman Legions brought the technique with them as they forged through Europe.

    It was the use of lard and butter, in northern Europe, that led to a dough that could be rolled out and molded into what became a tasty modern pie crust.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/pear apple galette waitrose recipe 230

    A galette is sometimes called a rustic tart. Photo of a pear and apple galette courtesy Waitrose.

    According to the American Pie Council, “pye” first appears in the written record in England in the 12th century. The crust of the pie was referred to as a “coffyn,” rectangular like its namesake. The walls were thick to hold the shape, and there was more crust than filling. Often, the legs of a fowl were placed to hang outside of the coffyn and used as handles!

    The predecessor of modern cake and pie pans was a metal hoop that was placed on a baking sheet. Ultimately, bakeware was made from tin or pottery. It is believed that the rounded shape rather than square or rectangular, as well as the shallowness of the pan, were devised to create a smaller space in which to stretch limited ingredients.

    A crostata or galette was an early way to form a pie crust in the absence of pie pans—and before anyone even realized a pie pan was desirable! The dough was rolled flat, the filling placed in the middle, and the edges turned up and folded (see the photos) to contain the filling. It was used for savory and sweet pies, and could be made free-form or in a rectangle, round or square.

    And, even after the emergence of tin and ceramic pie pans, for poor folk as well as the itinerant, no purchase of a pie pan was needed. This is a pie made without bakeware (well…a baking sheet helps the modern baker, instead of the older practice of using the floor of the oven or fireplace).

    Even today, it is simple to make; and we find it a fun undertaking, uniting us with all of those ancestors who baked without pans. No technique to create an even, fluted crust is necessary. There’s no worry about tearing the dough as you lift it into the pie pan. No one cares if the final result isn’t perfectly round or rectangular: The rusticity is the charm.

    And, the ease of creating a crostata/galette may get you to make pie more often—not just a fruit pie, but savory pies of vegetables, meat, even fish and seafood. Tip: It’s fun to make “leftovers pie,” tossing in everything from pasta, rice or grains to cooked meats and vegetables, cheese, whatever (go on a scavenger hunt through the fridge and pantry).


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    Galettes can also be made in individual sizes. Photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission.



    This recipe below works for any fruit, but for a classic apple galette, this recipe adds cinnamon.

    You can make the dough up to three days in advance.

    Ingredients For The Dough

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon/15 grams sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Heavy cream, as needed
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Optional: jam in a matching or complementary flavor*
    *Spreading jam on the bottom of an unbaked crust is a tip that adds a more fruit flavor and some extra sweetness to the pie.

    For The Filling

  • 3 cups fruit of choice, sliced or cubed (berries can be left whole)
  • ½ cup to 3/4 cup sugar, based on the sweetness of the fruit, with 1 tablespoon reserved
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch

    1. MAKE the crust: In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, or in a large bowl, pulse or mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Lightly beat the egg in a measuring cup; then add just enough cream to get to 1/3 cup. Lightly whisk the egg and cream together.

    2. ADD the butter to the flour mixture and pulse, or use a pastry cutter or your fingers to break up the butter into chickpea-size pieces. If using a food processor, do not over-process the dough or it gets tough.

    3. DRIZZLE up to 1/4 cup of the egg mixture over the dough and pulse or stir until it just starts to come together (but is still mostly large crumbs). Mix in the lemon zest.

    4. PLACE the dough on a lightly floured surface and pat it into one uniform piece. Flatten it into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours and up to 3 days. When ready to bake…

    5. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Roll the dough into a 12-inch round—or as close to round as is easy for you. Transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill while preparing the filling.

    6. PREPARE the filling: Toss together the fruit, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar, the salt, the lemon juice and zest, and the cornstarch. Use more cornstarch for juicy fruits like apples, berries and peaches, and less for drier fruits like figs.

    7. SPREAD the optional jam over the center of the dough circle, then place the fruit in the middle, leaving a border of 1½ to 2 inches (some people like the look of an even higher crust). Gently fold the pastry over the fruit, pleating to hold it in. Brush the pastry with the leftover egg and cream mixture. Sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of sugar on the crust.

    8. BAKE for 35 to 45 minutes, until the filling bubbles up vigorously and the crust is golden. Cool for at least 20 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    This recipe was adapted from one in the New York Times.



    FOOD 101: Sponge Cake History & Types

    August 23rd is National Sponge Cake Day. It celebrates an airy cake that’s just right for summer, garnished with fresh berries and whipped cream.

    The modern sponge cake dates to Europe in the early 19th century. Precursors were cookie-sized treats called biscuit bread and sponge fingers (a.k.a. boudoir biscuits, ladyfingers, Savoy biscuits [English] and savoiardi [Italian]); as well as sweet “breads” from Italy, Portugal and Spain.

    These earlier forms date back to the Renaissance (15th century) and were used in numerous desserts including trifles and fools. Early 17th century English cookbook writers note that recipes for fine bread, bisquite du roy [roi] and common biscuits were similar to sponge cake.

    Savoiardi, ladyfingers, originated in the late 15th century at the court of Catherine of Medici, created to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France to the Duchy of Savoy. The recipe found its way to England in the early 18th century.

    The sponge cake is thought to be one of the first of the non-yeasted cakes; the rise comes from well-beaten eggs. The earliest recipe in English is found in a 1615 book by Gervase Markham*. The term “sponge cake,” describing the sponge-like openness of the crumb, probably came into use during the 17th century. The earliest reference cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is in an 1808 letter written by Jane Austen, who apparently was fond of them. [Source: Food Timeline]

    The modern American sponge cake is a light-textured cake made of eggs, sugar and flour†; there is no fat or leavening. The rise comes from the beaten egg whites. The French sponge, génoise, is used for thinner cake layers, so the egg whites and yolks are beaten together.

    Sponges can be baked in cake pans, tube pans or sheet pans. They can be used to make layer cakes, tube cakes, roulades (rolled cakes) and cupcakes. They can be variously flavored and filled.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/Victoria Sponge .uk copy 230

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/sponge cake tube pan chicagometallic 230

    Top photo: a Victoria Sponge, filled with strawberry jam instead of Queen Victoria’s favorite, raspberry jam, and topped with powdered sugar. Photo courtesy Stylenest. Bottom photo: a simple sponge cake, made American-style in a tube pan. Photo courtesy Chicago Metallic Bakeware. Use a tube pan with feet, since sponge cake (as well as angel cake) must be inverted when removed from the oven.


    The basic sponge cake recipe is also used to make ladyfingers and madeleines; slices can be used instead of biscuits to make shortcake.

    *“The English Huswife, Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman.”

    †Since sponge cakes are not leavened with yeast, they can be eaten during Passover, made with matzo meal instead of wheat flour.



    The American Sponge is a high-rising cake, gaining volume from the air whipped into the egg whites and yolks. The dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt are folded in. Then the egg whites and more sugar are beaten until stiff and fold into the yolk mixture. It is often baked in an ungreased tube pan, which maximizes the volume of the cake, and emerges the springiest and spongiest of the sponge cakes.

    The classic British sponge of modern times is the Victoria Sponge Cake (see below).


    The French sponge cake, génoise (jen-WOZ), is named for the Italian port city of Genoa, where an precursor of it, Genoa Cake, originated in the early 19th century.

    Génoise sponge differs from American sponge cakes in that the eggs are beaten whole, rather than beating the the yolks and whites specialty for more rise. In fact, rise is not the goal; flatter cake layers are sought. Sheets of genoise are used to make Swiss rolls and other roulades, such as Buche de Noel. Genoise is also used to make ladyfingers and madeleines.

    Génoise sponge is the basis of many French layer cakes and roulades. Baked in pans or thinner sheets, it can filled with fruit purée, jam or whipped cream. It can be iced and decorated simply, elaborately or not at all.


    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/chocolate chestnut cream dirtykitchensecrets 250

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/genoise baba 230

    Top photo: chocolate genoise roulade (roll) filled with chestnut cream. Photo courtesy Dirty Kitchen Secrets. Bottom photo: thin layers of genoise used to assemble cakes. Photo courtesy La Cigale Doree.


    By the middle of the 18th century, cake bakers began to use well-beaten eggs instead of yeast as a leavening agent. The cake would be baked in a mold or in layers made by pouring the batter into two hoops, set on parchment paper and a cookie sheet (hoops atop baking sheets were the precursor of the modern cake pan).

    Genoa Cake originated in the port city of Genoa, Italy in the early 19th century. Some ingredients that came into the busy port from the East and Middle East—almonds, candied fruit and peel, citrus zest, currants, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon and other spices—often found their way into Genoa Cake, a light fruitcake that is different from the the airier genoise. Liqueur could be incorporated into the batter.

    Like the French génoise sponge, it could be served plain, filled with jam and/or cream, iced, or simply dusted with powdered sugar.

    There is also Italian génoise, called pan di Spagna (“Spanish bread”) in Italy.


    A sponge roll is a thin layer of génoise, no more than an inch deep, baked in a sheet pan. It has the flexibility to be filled with jam and/or cream and and rolled into a Bûche de Noël (Yule Log), Jelly Roll, Swiss Roll† or other type of roulade.
    ‡A Swiss roll is also called a cream roll when filled with whipped cream or other cream variation, and is often used as another term for jelly roll.

    England’s Queen Victoria enjoyed a slice of sponge cake with her afternoon tea, garnished with raspberry jam and whipped heavy cream (called double cream in the U.K.) or vanilla cream (vanilla-flavored whipped cream, called chantilly in French).

    Her preferences led to the creation of the Victoria Sponge. Jam and cream are sandwiched between two sponge layers; the top of the cake is served plain or with a dusting of powdered sugar. It also came to be known as the Victoria Sandwich, and sometimes the Victorian Cake. (See the photo at the top of the page.)

  • Angel Cake or Angel Food Cake, a sponge cake that uses only the egg whites. This produces a white cake instead of a conventional sponge colored yellow by the egg yolks.
  • Castella, a Japanese sponge cake that’s a specialty of Nagasaki. It was introduced there by Portuguese merchants in the 16th century (see Pão de Castela, below), and is typically made in long loaves.
  • Cantonese Steamed Sponge Cake, steamed in a water bath and called Ma Lai Gao in Cantonese. You may find it in the U.S. at restaurants that serve dim sum
  • Chiffon Cake, invented in 1927 in Los Angeles. It is based on the sponge cake recipe plus some added fat. Here’s more about Chiffon Cake.
  • Eve’s Pudding, a Victoria Sponge made with sliced apples that cook at the bottom of the cake pan or baking dish, underneath the cake batter. Think of it as a cousin to Tarte Tatin.
  • Italian Génoise—see Pan di Spagna, below.
  • Ma Lai Gao—See Cantonese Steamed Sponge Cake, above.
  • Malay Steamed Cake, a steamed sponge, based on the Cantonese Steamed Sponge Cake.
  • Pandan Cake or Pandan Chiffon, a fluffy sponge cake of Indonesian and Malaysian origins, flavored with the light green juice of pandan leaves (which has notes of coconut, citrus and grass). It sometimes made a deeper green with food color.
  • Pan di Spagna, also called Italian Génoise or Torta Genovese. An Italian recipe that evolved in Sicily during the Spanish rule (1559–1714), it is flavored with vanilla and/or citrus zest. It is the cake base for Sicilian Cassata, Tiramisu, Zuccoto and Zuppa Inglese. [Source]
  • Pão de Castela, “bread from Castil,” is a Portuguese variation of Pan di Spagna.
  • Pão de Ló is an unsweetened bread sponge “cake,” created by a Genovese cook, Glovan Battista Cabona, in the mid-1700s‡‡. It was cooked in a water bath, which was more reliable than early ovens.
  • Passover Sponge Cake or Plava, is made with Kosher for Passover ingredients, with matzo meal, matzo flour or potato flour, replacing the wheat flour. It is sometimes flavored with almonds or pecans, apples or apple juice, dark chocolate, lemon, orange juice, or poppy seeds.
  • Tres Leches Cake, a sponge soaked in evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and whole milk. The recipe originated in Latin America.
    ‡‡According to, the cook’s name was Giobatta Cabona, and was in the service of Marchese Domenico Pallavicini, Genova’s (Genoa in English) Ambassador to Spain in the mid-1700s. The Marchese asked for a new cake for a banquet, and Cabona created a light and airy confection he called Pâte Génoise, or Pasta Genovese in Italian. A slightly simplified version was called Pan di Spagna, to honor the Spanish Court.



    FOOD HOLIDAY RECIPE: Creamsicle Cheesecake

    August 14th is National Creamsicle Day. How about a “Creamsicle” Cheese Cake?

    First, a bit of food history, and why we put the word Creamsicle within quotation marks:

    The Popsicle® was invented by a 29-year-old husband and father working in the real estate industry in the Great Depression. Frank Epperson made what he called Epsicles for a fireman’s ball.

    They were a sensation, and Frank obtained a patent for ”a handled, frozen confection or ice lollipop.” His kids called the treat a Popsicle, after their Pop. So Frank created Popsicle Corporation, which developed the Creamsicle® and collaborated with the Loew Movie Company for the nationwide marketing and sales of the product in movie theaters.

    Here’s the history of the Creamsicle. Today, Creamsicle® and Popsicle® are registered trademarks of the Unilever Corporation. Any company wishing to use the name for a product must get a license from Unilever.

    We adapted this recipe from Krista of Check out her other delicious recipes!

    Krista recommends that you make the cheesecake a day in advance; but you can get by with a few hours of chilling.



    Bake one or order this Orange Cream Cheesecake from Sweet Street Desserts.

    Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time time is 40 minutes, plus a minimum of 3 hours for freezing/chilling.


    For The Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    For The Cheesecake

  • 2 eight-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

    /home/content/71/6181571/html/wp content/uploads/diet orange n cream stewarts 230

    Want Creamsicle flavor without the calories? We love Diet Orange ‘n Cream from Stewart’s, also available in regular (with sugar). If you can’t find it locally, order it from Amazon. Photo courtesy Stewart’s Restaurants.


    For The Orange Creamsicle Layer

  • 1 three-ounce box orange flavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 eight-ounce container of whipped topping such as Cool Whip


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F.

    2. COMBINE combine the butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl. Stir until combined. Pat into a 9″ springform pan. Set aside.

    3. WHIP the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; then beat in the sour cream.

    4. POUR the filling into the crust. Bake for 40 minutes. Turn of the oven and crack the oven door for 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool completely. Once cooled…

    5. MIX the “Creamsicle” layer by stirring the gelatin with the boiling water until it dissolves. Gently whisk in the whipped topping until it’s completely combined. Set the cheesecake on a plate or dish to catch any dripping, and pour the “Creamsicle” mixture over the cheesecake.

    6. PLACE in the freezer for an hour. Remove from the freezer and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve, at least two hours; but it is preferable to chill it overnight.

    7. TO SERVE: Run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to separate the gelatin layer from the side. Unhinge the pan and gently lift the bottom from the cheesecake.


    A cheesecake is not a cake, but an open face custard pie. Unlike a cake, there is no raised layer made with flour.

    Rather, like a pie, it has a bottom crust into which a filling (a cheese custard) is poured and baked.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Cook With Fresh Blueberries

    August is National Blueberry Month. The harvest is full, the prices are at the year’s low, and any food lover should relish the opportunity to eat lots of them.

    And cook with them. Beyond the all-American blueberry pie, you can make:

  • Baked treats: cheesecakes, cobblers, crumbles, fruit tarts, muffins, scone
  • Beverages: cocktails, lemonade, smoothies
  • Breakfasts: in cereal, muffins, pancakes, omelets, scones, yogurt and waffles
  • Frozen desserts: ice cream and sorbet
  • Salads: fruit salads and green salads
  • Soup: in chilled fruit soup, all blueberries or mixed berries
    We’ll focus on some of those tomorrow. Today, we’re starting with dessert; specifically, blueberry ice cream and blueberry pound cake. Both are easy to make, and won’t keep you in the kitchen for too long.


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    Blueberry ice cream. Photo and recipe courtesy Driscoll’s berries.


    Fresh blueberries should be firm and dry (no leakage or juice stains on the bottom of the container), with a smooth skin covered with a silvery white bloom. The color should be deep purple-blue to blue-black. Reddish blueberries aren’t ripe and won’t ripen once they are picked, but you can use them when cooking with added sugar.

    Refrigerate fresh blueberries, either in their original plastic pack or in a covered bowl or container. Before using, wash the berries, removing any stems, leaves and smashed fruit, plus berries that look soft, shriveled or dots of white mold.

    Ingredients For 1 Quart

  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream

    1. COMBINE the blueberries, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Mash the softened blueberries and stir with a fork. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

    2. PURÉE the berry mixture and milk in a blender or food processor. When smooth, stir in the cream. Press the purée through a sieve into a bowl. Press on the solids with back of a spoon to extract the remaining juices.

    3. COVER and chill the mixture at least 2 hours, or until cold. You can make the recipe up to this step, up to 1 day in advance.

    4. PROCESS the cold mixture in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer it to an airtight container and place in the freezer to harden.


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    Fresh blueberry pound cake with blueberry sauce. You’ll notice how much firmer and tastier fresh berries are, compared to baking with frozen berries. Photo courtesy QVC.



    This easy recipe is from QVC’s chef David Venable. David tip: “Be sure that all of your ingredients are at room temperature before beginning. And, only use fresh blueberries in the sauce; it will have a better consistency.”

    The recipe is easy because David uses a pound cake mix. We made our own pound cake recipe from scratch, adding just the cup of blueberries and the sour cream from the cake ingredients below.

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

    Ingredients For The Cake

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 box pound cake mix or your own pound cake recipe
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • Zest of a half lemon (zest the whole lemon; the rest goes into
    the sauce)
    Ingredients For The Blueberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon

  • Optional: whipped cream or vanilla or blueberry ice cream

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Set aside.

    2. PREPARE the cake: Toss the blueberries with flour in a bowl. Set aside.

    3. PLACE the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process for 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and process for 3 more minutes. Stir in the flour-coated blueberries with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45–55 minutes.

    4. MAKE the sauce: Place all the ingredients into a food processor and process for 4–6 minutes. Drizzle the sauce on top of the sliced pound cake. Top with whipped cream and serve; or make it a la mode with a scoop of ice cream.



    UPDATES: New Flavors From Product Favorites


    A nutritious, easy breakfast is just a crunch away. Photo courtesy belVita.


    If we reported on all the updates to products we’ve previously reviewed, we’d need another full-time staff. Each year flavors come, flavors go; and on an all-too-regular basis, packaging changes.

    While we can’t keep on top of it all, here are recent updates to some of our favorite products.


    There are seasonal ciders, just as there are seasonal beers. Angry Orchard’s Summer Honey is a perfect poolside drink—or it would be, if we had a pool. Instead, we’re enjoying it in the great air-conditioned indoors.

    Here’s our original review of Angry Orchard Cider. The company website is

    Ever since we published our review of the best organic hot dogs, Applegate has become our brand of choice.

    Applegate has always used meat from animals that are humanely raised and antibiotic free. Made with only beef, water, sea salt and spices, the dogs are also lower in fat, with less salt than other brands.

    Now, the beef is 100% grass fed, something of interest to healthier eaters. Compared with other types of beef, grass-fed beef typically has:

  • Less total fat.
  • More heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • More antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamin E.
  • More conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks.
    Learn more at


    Since their launch by Nabisco in 2012, belVita has been a favorite breakfast and snack item at our office and a Top Pick Of The Week. We prefer the original crunchy biscuits to the subsequent Soft Baked and Biscuit Bites variations.

    Recently, Cranberry Orange was added to belVita’s crunchy flavors. Along with Blueberry and Chocolate, it’s a favorite. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU. Discover more at

    Halfpops, a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week, has added two new flavors to originals Butter & Sea Salt and Aged White Cheddar.

    The newcomers, Caramel & Sea Salt and Chipotle Barbeque, are equally delicious. The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU, and certified gluten free. Find the retailer nearest you at



    Nonni’s Thin Addictives, a lower-calorie alternative to biscotti, has released Mango Coconut Almond Thins.

    It joins Banana Dark Chocolate, Blueberry Oat Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, Cranberry Almond and Pistachio as a crunchy side to coffee and tea.

    The line is certified kosher (parve) by MK, a Montreal certifier (the product is made in Canada). Discover more at


    Flat, crunchy Pretzel Crisps are another favorite snack. We used the Dark Chocolate & Peppermint and White Chocolate & Peppermint flavors as stocking stuffers last December, and extolled the Sriracha & Lime flavor more recently.

    Now, there are four gluten-free varieties that taste just as good as the conventional versions: Gluten Free Original Minis, Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Flavored Crunch Minis, Gluten Free Salted Caramel Minis and Gluten Free Vanilla Yogurt Flavored Crunch Minis.

    From Deli Style to Minis to Modern Classics to Everyday Indulgents and Holiday Indulgents, there are quite a selection of Pretzel Crisps. See the whole line at The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OU.



    Chipotle Barbeque joins Caramel & Sea Salt in the Halfpops line. Photo courtesy Halfpops.


    Quaker has introduced new Quick 3-Minute Steel Cut Oats, which delivers the same hearty texture and nutty taste that has made steel cut oats our favorite—but with a far more convenient cook time.

    Available in plain oats in canisters, and flavored individual pouches: 3-Minute Blueberries & Cranberries and Cinnamon and Sugar. Discover more at

    Some people like a lighter brew for the hot weather, and Samuel Adams offers a good selection. Two new lighter brews for summer refreshment include Downtime Pilsner, a “laid-back” golden pilsner, and Rebel Rider IPA, a hoppy West Coast-style IPA with a lighter body. These new brews are joined by traditional summer favorites, Boston Lager, Porch Rocker and Summer Ale.

    Also new, from the Small Batch Collection, is Honey Queen, a blend of mead and beer. Dating back to the 12th century, this combination is known as a braggot—a new word for our Beer Glossary. It’s brewed with three different honeys, complex hops and chamomile for a tart sweetness with a lovely honey finish.

    Learn more at



    RECIPE: White Chocolate Ice Box Pie

    Yesterday, we explored the history and glories of icebox cake. Today we present the icebox pie

    Unlike yesterday’s recipe, this one does require a bit of baking—just 10 to 15 minutes in the oven. You make the filling while the crust bakes. Then, into the fridge it goes to chill and set the filling.

    This recipe has a white chocolate and cream cheese filling swirled with fresh raspberries with a buttery crust made from vanilla wafers. vanilla wafer crust. It’s cool and creamy and sweet and refreshing. Just the thing to satisfy your summertime sweet tooth!

    This Raspberry White Chocolate Icebox Pie was developed by Jennifer McHenry of Bake Or Break, and sent to us by

    Prep time is 25 minutes, cook time (for the crust) is 15 minutes.


    Ingredients For A 9-Inch Pie

  • 7 ounces vanilla wafers, finely crushed
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces white chocolate (we use Lindt bars or
    Guittard chips, the best chips on the market)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 ounces raspberries, rinsed and dried


    White chocolate with raspberries icebox pie. Photo courtesy Bake Or Break | Go Bold With Butter.



    Our favorite affordable white chocolate is Lindt, widely available in the U.S., MSRP $3.99 for a 4.4-ounce bar. For pricier gourmet brands, here’s our article on the best white chocolate bars.



    1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 9-inch tart or pie pan.

    2. COMBINE the crushed vanilla wafers and butter until thoroughly mixed. Press mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and dry. Set the crust aside to cool.

    3. PLACE the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at half-power in the microwave in 30-second increments, until the chocolate melts when stirred. Set aside to cool.

    4. BEAT the cooled chocolate, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

    5. PLACE the heavy cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the white chocolate mixture. Transfer the mixture to the cooled pie crust and spread evenly.


    6. PLACE the raspberries in a blender or food processor and process until puréed. Use a small spoon to drop the raspberries over the top of the pie filling. Use a thin knife to swirl the raspberries into the filling.

    7. REFRIGERATE the pie for at least 2 hours before serving.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Polka Dot Pie & The Pie-Tart Difference

    A few days ago we featured the lattice pie crust, a beautiful top crust for fruit pies (and optionally, to decorate tarts, which typically don’t have top crusts). Some home bakers may be wary, not knowing if they have the patience to evenly cut and weave the strips of dough (fear not—it’s really easy).

    But You don’t need much extra time or skill to turn a conventional pie crust into a polka-dot pie, an inspiration of one of our baking heroes, Audra, The Baker Chick.

    As beguiling as a homemade pie is when you bring it to the table, this peekaboo pie is even more so (and even more so when there’s a bright-colored fruit peeking through).

    How simple is it? When you make your pie recipe, simply use a small cookie cutter to cut polka dots in the top crust. (You can sprinkle the cut-out circles of dough with cinnamon sugar or grated cheese and bake them.)

    Here’s the recipe for Audra’s succulent peach pie. Take the time to peruse The Baker Chick website for many wonderful recipes.

    Do you know the difference between a pie and a tart? Many people use the terms interchangeably, but that’s incorrect. Would you call a muffin a cupcake?

    There are some similarities, but more differences. Here’s the scoop:



    Showcase your fruit pie. Peach pie photo courtesy The Baker Chick.




    A pie has a thin crust, generally un-sweetened. A tart has a thick crust, typically sweetened and almost cookie-like. The sides stand up straight, without the need of support from a baking dish. Blueberry tart photo courtesy Chilean Blueberry Committee.



    The terms aren’t interchangeable, even if the products are equally delicious for dessert (or a savory versions—think vegetable tart and chicken pot pie—for lunch or dinner). Here, the differences between pies and tarts. First…

    Pies & Tarts: The Similarities

  • Crust & Filling. Both tarts and pies comprise a pastry crust with a filling that can be sweet or savory.
  • Multiple Or Individual Servings. Both pies and tarts are multiple serving dishes. While individual-size pies are called mini pies, an individual tart is a tartlet.
    Pies & Tarts: The Differences

  • Number Of Crusts. A pie can have a full top crust, a lattice, or be open-faced (no top crust). A tart has only a bottom crust. Flans and quiches are also tarts; and a cheesecake is a cheese-custard tart.

  • Type Of Crust. While both pie and tart crusts use the same ingredients (flour, shortening, cold water, salt and sometimes sugar), they are in different proportions for different purposes.
    > Pie crusts are thin, soft, flaky pastry that can be made with different types of shortening. Typically, vegetable shortening or lard is used. The pie is served from the pie pan.
    > Tart crusts are traditionally made with butter to achieve a buttery pastry flavor. The tart crust is firm such that the tart can stand independently when removed from the tart pan. A tart is meant to be unmolded before serving. While it can be served from the pan, the idea is to enjoy the beauty of the standing tart without the pan. This is especially true with a beautiful fluted crust.
  • Type Of Pan. The sides of a pie dish or pan are sloped and the dish can be made from a variety of material, such as ceramic, glass or metal. A tart pan is metal with straight or straight fluted side with a removable bottom. A pastry ring atop a baking sheet can also be used.
  • Size. A standard pie pan is 9 inches in diameter and 1-1/4 inches deep. Other common sizes are 9-1/2 inches and 10 inches. Tart pans range from 10 to 12 inches in diameter, with a depth from 3/4 inches to 2 inches. There are also rectangular tart pans, typically ranging from 11 inches to 15 inches in length, that make a handsome presentation.
  • Consistency Of Filling. Pie fillings can be loose (fruit pie) or firm (custard pie and pecan pie, for example). Tarts have firm fillings, based on more eggs or other binders. This is especially important since the tart is free-standing—no pie plate for the juices to run into.
    Now that you know the difference, take a look at the different types of pies in our beautiful Pie & Pastry Glossary.


    TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Lattice Pie Crust


    Many people think a lattice is the prettiest
    pie crust. Photo courtesy Completely
    Delicious via Go Bold With Butter.


    “A home-baked fruit pie with a lattice crust is a guaranteed crowd pleaser,” says Annalise Sandberg of If you’ve always wanted to make one but haven’t yet, Annalise is here to help with a step-by-step photo tutorial.

    A lattice crust is a top crust for pies or tarts made from strips of dough woven into a criss-cross pattern.

    In addition to the eye appeal, the openings between the strips of dough allow steam to escape during baking. Some of the water in the fruit juices evaporates, which can caramelize the filling and makes for a less drippy filling. That’s why you typically find a lattice top on fruit pies.

    The lattice is made from the top crust dough of a double crust pastry recipe. The dough is cut into strips using a sharp knife or, preferably, a pastry wheel cutter which provides a beautiful crimped edge.

    If you need to buy a pastry wheel, we like this one which has both crimped and straight cutting blades. You can use the same tool to cut ravioli.


  • Chill the dough before cutting.
  • If you don’t want to rely on your eye, use a ruler to make the strips even-width.
  • Some people use an egg wash to make their top crusts golden brown. We think a lattice looks nicer without the egg wash.
  • Here’s a video.


  • Your favorite fruit pie recipe and a double pie crust recipe (how about a delicious peach pie recipe?)


    1. MAKE the fruit filling of your choice. Set aside and make your favorite pie crust recipe, divided into two disks. Chill the dough.

    2. ROLL out first disk of dough, place it in the pie pan and fill it with the fruit.

    3. ROLL out second disk of dough. Use a plain or decorative pastry wheel cutter (or a very sharp knife) to slice the dough into strips approximately 1-inch wide. Use 10 strips as you first master the technique. Later you can get creative with the width of the lattice and the number of strips you use.

    4. PLACE 5 dough strips on top of pie, spaced evenly. The longest strips should be in the center.

    5. WEAVE the second group of strips under and over the first five (and if these instructions sound confusing, look at the photo at right, watch the video or this photo layout).



    Ready, set, bake! Photo courtesy Annalise Sandberg of Here’s her recipe.

    > PULL back the second and fourth strips halfway and place another strip down center of the pie, perpendicular to first set. Lay folded strips back down.
    > FOLD the first, third, and fifth strips back and place another perpendicular dough strip on top of pie. Unfold those strips, and again fold second and fourth strips. Lay one more perpendicular strip.
    > ROTATE the pie 180 degrees and repeat on the other side until you have finished the lattice.
    > TRIM the ends of the strips so that they match up with the overhang of the bottom crust. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together to seal, fold under and crimp as desired.

    6. BAKE as directed and impress your friends and family!


    Before it was adapted to a pie crust design, a lattice was a structure of crossed wooden or metal strips, often arranged to form a diagonal pattern on trellises (for vines), gazebos, summerhouses, arches and other structures.

    The word first appears in print as an English noun in the late 13th century, derived from an Old English variant of laett, from the German latte—which is not a beverage but a thin slat of wood. The root can be found in numerous old languages, including Proto-Germanic, Old Norse and Old Saxon. The verb appears in the 1530s.

    Im Middle English the word was spelled latis; in Middle French, lattis. The French spelling is the same today.



    PRODUCT: Goodie Girl Cookies, Gluten Free

    Thanks to a New York City media relations consultant and mom who began baking gluten-free cookies in her home kitchen, Goodie Girl is pleasing palates from coast to coast.

    Simply put, these gluten-free cookies are addictive. Samples arrived at my door in a box irresistibly marked “Cookies.” The box was packed with Goodie Girl’s brightly colored bags in a popular array of flavors.

  • Crunchy Chaos is laden with buttery toffee, crisped rice and mini chocolate chips. Here, chaos is a good thing.
  • Mint Slims, a chocolate-draped chocolate-mint wafer, will comfort those feeling left out of Girl Scout cookie season
  • Midnight Brownie is a dark chocolate cookie packed with chunks of semisweet Belgian chocolate.
  • Oatmeal Raisin is an old-fashioned style, with just the right amount of cinnamon.
  • Quinoa Choco-Chunk deliciously unmasked my deeply buried Chips Ahoy fetish, put aside when I began a gluten-free lifestyle.


    Your favorite cookie flavors, gluten-free. Above, Oatmeal Raisin. Photo courtesy Goodie Girl.


    In fact, all of the cookies sampled were unabashedly crunchy. There was no trying to play both sides of the cookie viscosity divide: They crunch, they munch and then dissolve cheerily away with a buttery aftertaste. The cookies packs a wallop of flavor and doesn’t skimp on density.

    And the cookies are just the right size, although no sooner are you finished with one that the thought occurs that it would be good to have another, and another…



    Midnight Brownie, a dark cocoa cookie with Belgian chocolate chunks. Photo courtesy Goodie Girl.


    The bag, with its resealable top, is very conducive to sitting down with the intention of eating just a few. Watch that you don’t slip into “potato chip-mode,” continuously reaching into the bag until your chest is sprinkled with crumbs.

    But I’m not embarrassed to be covered in crumbs, that’s how good these cookies are. They are an experience every gluten-free person should have, and one that we can feel free to share with our wheat-centric friends.

    Goodie Girl cookies come in 6-ounce bags as well as in lunchbox-size one-ounce Go-Paks.

  • At $4.99 per 6-ounce pouch, they’re affordable for home and for gifting to anyone in gluten-free mode.
  • The one-ounce Go Paks-are available in Quinoa Choco-Chunk and Midnight Brownie, $9.99 for a box of 12 one-ounce bags.

    Check the store locator for a retailer near you, or purchase them online from

    —Georgi Page



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